It appears the Monday-night match between first-place 1. FC Köln and second-place SpVgg Greuther Fürth will be played as scheduled, despite appeals from the Kleeblätter for other consideration as their club found themselves suddenly in the grip of a Norovirus outbreak.
Already nine players have fallen ill as of early Thursday evening. Meanwhile, practices are being cancelled so facilities can be disinfected in an effort to curb further spread of the virus.
With some of the symptoms of such an illness being what they are, jokes about Fürth being afraid of the Effzeh are being flung about fairly freely on Twitter (see above).
Who doesn’t love a good poop joke?
For serious, though, with the SpVgg having pretty much no choice but to close facilities, the big match of the weekend for 2. Bundesliga is already in danger. Should Fürth be unable to persuade the DFL to postpone the match, the best they can hope for, sporting-wise, is that they can field a healthy squad for the battle, whether it’s with less-used players or players returning to health who’ve not had the normal amount of preparation. In either case, it takes a bit of the heat from the highly-anticipated match.
Of course, Effzeh fans have to be somewhat conflicted. On the one hand, the hindering of such a strong opponent would tend to make a three-point night much more likely. On the other, with lack-luster performances the first two match days of the year, seeing a legitimate contender in Müngersdorf would provide the best opportunity to gauge the state of preparedness of the club going forward, not only in the fight for promotion, but also for the prospective next season in the top flight where inconsistent effort is punished much more harshly than in the 2. Bundesliga.
As of yet, the prospects of a postponement are dim.
“These are naturally anything other but good conditions for the match,” said Fürth’s sporting director Rouven Schröder as posted in an update on the club’s website. “Unfortunately we have no other options and, of course, the health of our players and coworkers comes first. We were in contact with the DFL, but currently there is no possibility to reschedule the match.”
According to a story at sportschau.de, there is a provision in the gaming-regulations guidelines of the DFL that could lead to a cancellation of the match in the case of extreme circumstances. Essentially, the club must have “more than 13 eligible players” available to play. Should “illness and injury” prevent Fürth from having enough to field a team, they can appeal for a cancellation.
Fürth has managed to hold on to their spot in the table despite a pair of draws to start 2014, thanks, in part, to 1 FC. Kaiserslautern losing in Aue. By the time the scheduled kickoff in Köln arrives, Fürth could already find themselves having dropped into fourth place.